A hot vit lon (balut) stall in Ho Chi Minh City is always crowded thanks to the owner’s family secret.
Learning all the tricks from her parents, Pham Kim Tinh, 39, always knows how to pick up the best baluts for her stall in Thao Dien Ward, Thu Duc City.
The stall, named Kim Thao, located at 104 Xuan Thuy Street, has been open from 1:45 pm to 10:00 pm every day for nearly 12 years.
The peak hour of the venue lasts from around 4:40 pm to when it is closed.
“My family has a tradition of raising ducks for eggs, from which I’ve learned how to candle eggs and eventually came up with the idea of running this hot vit lon stall,” Tinh said.
|Pham Kim Tinh is seen with an oil lamp passed from her parents at her balut stall in Thao Dien Ward, Thu Duc City, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News|
“I’ve also had my own special recipe for dipping sauce from ground chili and salt and pepper.
“Diners can optionally add lime juice to the sauce at their will.”
According to Tinh, a good balut to serve should be incubated for around 17 days.
She also boils the eggs in sections of 30 each to keep the baluts always hot, fresh, and ready to be served.
|Boiled baluts are seen at Kim Thao Stall in Thao Dien Ward, Thu Duc City, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News|
Tinh said her stall also receives foreign visitors from South Korea, the UK, and the U.S., with some trying one balut while others order five to six eggs a time.
At Tinh’s stall, diners can order as many eggs as they like. If they come in groups, the staff will serve dishes of five eggs and they can return the eggs they do not eat.
|A diner scoops balut yolk out of the eggshell. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News|
A balut at Tinh’s stall fetches VND12,000 (US$0.52).
“This is my first time visiting this place,” said Tran Nam Phi, who traveled from District 6 to try a balut at Tinh’s stall.
“A friend recommended it to me as the stall’s quite famous for good baluts.
“I was impressed with the dipping sauce which specially combines the sweet and sour tastes.
"It also made this stall stand out from other places I’ve tried.
“I had two eggs today and will be back again."
|The dipping sauce is served with baluts at Kim Thao Stall in Thao Dien, Thu Duc City, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News|
Meanwhile, Quynh Tho from Binh Chanh District has been a regular customer at Tinh’s stall for the past three years, loving the special dipping sauce and the quality of baluts.
“I’ve visited two or three times a week, even though I have to travel quite far but I’m willing to,” she said.
“I also asked my friends to join.”
|Customers enjoy baluts at Kim Thao Stall in Thao Dien Ward, Thu Duc City, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News|
|Staff at Kim Thao Stall prepare baluts for delivery. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News|